Monday, February 21, 2011

Rick Priestley Talks Combat for Hail Caesar!

Warlord Game's Ancient Armies logo
I'm encouraged by the latest Hail Caesar! update by Rick Priestley on the Warlord Games website. This time he goes over combat in great detail.

The update is worth your time even if you only read half of it. Combat (and associated factors for units) is divided into Clash, Sustained, Short, and Long. Long is the only truly ranged combat. Short is used for supporting units and for ranged weaponry in melee. Clash and Sustained are mechanics for differentiating between charges/impetus, etc. Priestley provides some examples of combat using Roman legionary and British warband templates that do a lot to show off the system. 

Like Black Powder, units become shaken after taking so many casualties, but it take more losses to shake a unit for the most part. This allows the melee-heavy game to have some brawls. 

One thing I really liked about the example is that the Roman unit did not walk over the British in the long run. Both legionaries and barbarians have some options on how to attack and/or defend that allows for some command decisions that could tip a combat one way or the other. 

With the kind of balance one sees in the examples, this might lead to something rarely seen on the game tables: fairly even numbers between Romans and barbarians. If you suspect that the Roman authors were sometimes exaggerating a little bit about the hordes their armies defeated, this might appeal to your sense of historical gaming. Not sure if this is the take the rules will actually go with, but I'd like to see it. Actually, this is a subject I've been meaning to review for some time now, and I'll bring it up again later. 

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